DOJ Calls For Wholesale Philadelphia Police Changes On Deadly Force


A long-awaited U.S. Justice Department report on police shootings in Philadelphia cited “significant strife between the community and the department” and recommended wholesale changes in procedures and training, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. The Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) issued 48 findings and 91 recommendations for “reforming … deadly force practices.” Commissioner Charles Ramsey pledged to move “as quickly as we can” to come up with a plan to implement the recommendations. “We certainly are looking at each and every one, and coming up with a strategy for each recommendation,” he said.

After police shootings soared in 2012, prompting civil-rights lawsuits, Ramsey asked the Justice Department to conduct a study under its “Collaborative Reform” model to improve relations with the public. Philadelphia is only the third city to have undergone this kind of review. Justice officials stressed that Ramsey asked them to come to Philadelphia. Temple University law Prof. Paul Messing, a civil-rights lawyer, said the report “confirmed what we’ve known for years” – that the department’s disciplinary process has “a complete lack of teeth.” The Justice Department’s report also criticized police policies on use of force, calling them confusing and inconsistent. The main directive on using deadly force was deemed “too vague,” the report said.

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